Apple announces Viborg data centre expansion and district heating plan

Data centre expansion

Apple has announced its intention to expand its Viborg data centre’s operations and build new infrastructure to capture excess heat energy for use in district heating as part of a larger announcement to highlight investments from its Green Bonds initiative.

The company says that investments from their $4.7 billion in Green Bonds have helped jump-start the development of new low-carbon manufacturing and recycling technologies, which also includes the development of carbon-free aluminium, investment in renewable energy.

Apple’s Green Bonds have already funded the installation of what it says are the largest onshore wind turbines in the world, which power the company’s data center in Viborg, Denmark, with all surplus energy going back into the Danish grid. Over the next year, Apple will expand the Viborg data centre’s operations and build new infrastructure to capture excess heat energy to be utilised in Viborg’s district heating system.

“Apple is committed to leaving the planet better than we found it, and our Green Bonds are a key tool to drive our environmental efforts forward,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “Our investments are advancing the breakthrough technologies needed to reduce the carbon footprint of the materials we use, even as we move to use only recyclable and renewable materials across our products to conserve the earth’s finite resources.”

As part of this work, Apple has begun purchasing direct carbon-free aluminum following a major advancement in smelting technology to reduce emissions. The aluminum is the first to be manufactured at an industrial scale outside of a laboratory without creating any direct carbon emissions during the smelting process. The company intends for the material to be introduced in the iPhone SE.

In total, Apple has issued $4.7 billion to accelerate progress toward the company’s goal to become carbon neutral across its supply chain by 2030. Its first two bonds in 2016 and 2017 are now fully allocated. The 2019 Green Bond is supporting 50 projects, including the low-carbon aluminum breakthrough. These 50 projects are projected to mitigate or offset 2,883,000 metric tons of CO2e, install nearly 700 megawatts of renewable energy capacity around the world, and promote new recycling research and development.

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